20 WordPress SEO Tips to Dominate in SERPs
WordPress SEO is an important skill set that every WP site owner and internet marketing professional needs to learn in order to dominate the search rankings.
A recent statistical analysis report stated that there are around 1.9 billion websites in the world using the WordPress platform. The WP CMS is used by top brands like CNN, Time, Fortune, USA Today, NBC, Spotify and more.
In this SEO guide, I will show you how to modify your WP site and create a perfect on-page structure which is loved by search engines and pass the right signals to them in order to make your site rank better.
You can use SEO for WordPress to effectively build the reputation of your site and gain more user engagement.
WordPress is the worlds most popular CMS platform used to build a variety of websites like forums, blogs, business sites along the line SEO is the process used to grow the rankings of a site on search engines.
We will be looking at how you can use SEO on your WordPress site and make it rank higher in the SERPs.
At Egochi, we recommend all WP users to create high-quality content and optimize every page on the site for better online visibility.
Here are the top 20 WordPress SEO tips & strategies to dominate in the SERPs:
1. Choose SEO Friendly Theme
When you decide to design your website on the WordPress CMS platform you get the opportunity to choose a suitable theme.
This is a crucial step as your theme choice can make or break your online success.
I strongly recommend to read the reviews of the theme and check if the theme has a good structure and can be optimized as per requirement.
You will find multiple themes claiming to be the best thus you need to evaluate each one carefully. When choosing a theme, pay attention to these key areas:
Website speed: Ensure that the theme loads fast and should be up in under 4 seconds. Theme structure: The theme structure should be customizable as per requirement. Navigation: Visitors should find the site easy to navigate in order to find results. Mobile friendly: WP theme should be compatible with all mobile devices. Tag format: WP theme needs to have right tag structure and should be able to differentiate between the title and the tags. Browser compatibility: Your theme should be able to adapt to all browsers. Allows plugins: There are many important plugins that you will need to enhance your website performance thus make sure the theme is compatible with all major plugins. Read reviews: Every theme would have multiple users associated with it and they would leave reviews, issues and feedbacks. Read them before making a decision. HTML code: The themes coding should be able to generate good HTML5 response. Page builder: Page builders allow you to drag and drop design elements thus find the most suitable page builder for your theme if needed.
2. Install SSL Certificate
Google took the initiative to make the web a secure place and in order to do say they encouraged web owners to shift from HTTP to HTTPS.
They also updated the ranking algorithm and added HTTPS as a ranking factor.
As per Google, a site with HTTPS has a slightly better chance to rank as compared to an HTTP site.
Benefits of installing an SSL certificate are:
Protection from hacking attacks Get ranking advantage Gain customers trust Accept payments online securely Adds strength to your brand Encrypt collected data Increase conversions by encouraging customer security Domain Validated (DV): It offers you cost effective and easy to implement certificate for securing your website. Organization Validated (OV): If you have an informational (non-eCommerce) website, an OV SSL license is perfect for you. Extended Validation (EV): This certficate displays a green padlock and will also show your companies name in green to certify that your site is genuine. Validate the SSL certificate. Force WordPress to use HTTPS on all URL's. Redirect existing HTTP version of the site to HTTPS. Scan for SSL errors and automatically fix them. Analyze image links and convert them to HTTPS
Make sure you also change your website URL from within WordPress admin panel.
Simply login into your WP admin account and click General tab under Settings, now you would see the website URL as HTTP simply change it to https.
3. Create a Site Structure
A good site structure helps visitors navigate your site in a productive manner.
Search engines use your sites site structure to determine important and relevant pages and show it as “sitelinks” in the search results.
Sitelink is a tree-like structure of relevant pages from your website that appear when someone searches for your companies name on Google and there is no set rule or action you can take to get them.
We studied thousands on websites that had sitelinks and found that they all had a well-structured website and they were well defined in the XML sitemap.
Follow these tips when you create your site’s structure:
Plan your site hierarchy. Create specific categories & sub-categories. Match URL to category & sub-category. Interlink to your main page within the site structure. Add Main navigation to website header. Use HTML language to create site navigation.
4. Write Quality Content
Content is the biggest weapon you can use to build user engagement and credibility for your website and business.
Search engines like Google love high-quality content and rank them higher in search results. They also confirmed that high-quality content is one of the highly prioritized ranking factors for them.
You as a website owner need to have a content development strategy for your business in order to succeed online.
When it comes to creating content that your users will appreciate and value you need to focus on a few suggestions:
Choose a topic that your audience is talking about and has high search volume. Analyze the top content pages published by your competitors. Decide on the keywords you want to rank for before generating the content. Check the content structure and keywords used on the top ranking pages for your targeted keyword. Use H1-H6 tags within your content to grow ranking possibilities. Add schema markup to your content such as blogposting schema can be used for blog posts. Post content on a regular basis to grow your website authority and to keep visitors enagaged. Provide value to your audience by answering questions and providing case studies. Add videos to your site and write an article around the video. Always create original content. Write an impressive and interesting headline.. Keep the content language free from grammatical errors and also keep it simple to understand.
Writing content can be a tiring job and sometimes you may hit a writer’s block, therefore, it’s important that you stay updated with the industry trends and news updates.
Try searching for your niche and keywords on sites like BuzzSumo, Google Trends, forums, and groups in order to keep yourself well informed.
5. Add Schema Markup
Search engines use bots to crawl your website and analyze its relevancy for its searchers thus it’s important to tell them what every page is really about.
It’s the bots that match your websites crawled data with its algorithms and decide where the site needs to rank. The websites that use schema markup code on their site rank better than the site’s that don’t use them.
Adding a schema markup code ensures that the bots do not mismatch your content pages and rank you for a non-targeted keyword.
You can find relevant schema markup codes on schema.org, this is a site that was created in collaboration with the teams of Google, Bing & Yahoo.
When you post content on your site, you may decide to publish various types and kinds of content such as:
News Articles Video Content Images like infographics Services Local service Location pages Events Reviews & Ratings Software applications
There is a schema code for every type of page that’s on your website. Simply add the relevant codes with your information to your website and let the bots do their job.
Once you have generated the schema code be sure to test it on Google’s schema validator to make sure there are no errors in it.
6. Install Cache Plugin
This plugin helps your website to load faster for your returning visitors.
A cache plugin stores your website’s HTML code on to the visitor’s computer from their first visit ensuring that the next time they visit the site it loads faster using the saved dynamic code.
There are many cache plugins available for you to download and we have hand-picked the top six for you:
WP Fastest Cache WP Super Cache W3 Total Cache Comet Cache Cache Enabler WP Rocket
Benefits of caching your website are as follows:
Faster load time Provides better ranking oppourtunity Lowers bounce rate Increases number of returning customers Improves user experience Helps building website authority in the long run
This clarifies the importance of the cache plugin and how to choose them for your WP site. Caching is an essential part of your WordPress site, therefore, do not ignore it.
We recommend using the free version of the WP fastest cache plugin for your WordPress site.
7. Add Yoast Plugin
A popular WordPress SEO plugin which helps you to easily add SEO elements to your site.
The plugin comes with a bunch of tools to optimize your site and make it rank better in the SERPs. Yoast helps you pass the right ranking signals to search engines.
The best part of the Yoast SEO plugin is that it allows you to add a focus keyword that you want to rank for and tells you how to optimize your content to increase your chances to rank better for the targeted keyword.
There are both free and paid versions of this tool available and we recommend starting with the free version as it consists of multiple features and if required go for the paid one.
The features of this awesome plugin are as follows:
Generate XML sitemap for your site. Allows you to enable breadcrumbs to your site using a simple code. Easily add canonical tags on your duplicate pages. Allows you to add meta title & meta description to your content pages. Connects to Google search console and get all crawl error and performance reports. You can make bulk edits using the bulk editor tool within the plugin. Gives you a preview of how your pages will look in search results once its indexed.
All premium members get some extra features like automatic redirection of URL’s when it gets changes, internal page linking suggestions when generating new content and the ability to add multiple focus keywords.
There is much more to this plugin and you can use them as and when required.
8. Increase Site Speed
Optimize your WordPress site to fully load in under 4 seconds as the websites loading time is an important ranking factor.
When a visitors clicks on your website link and has to wait longer for it to load, the chances are they will hit the back button and click on another link. Search engines track this activity and downgrade your site’s ranking.
There are multiple ways to optimize and improve your website speed:
Most of the tips in this list would be automatically resolved by using a good WordPress theme and for the rest, you would need to manually update them.
Making these necessary changes would increase your click-through-ratio which leads to higher ranking in search results.
9. Build XML Sitemap
What is an XML sitemap?
An XML sitemap helps search engine bots to crawl your website easily and understand it’s relevance which would help it to rank it accordingly.
XML stands for “Extensible Markup Language” which is a method to show the pages and posts on your website.
Let’s say that your website is a motel and your pages are the rooms in the motel. In order to understand where each room is located and what is the purpose of each room, we would need to study the blueprint of the motel. An XML sitemap is the blueprint of your website.
An XML sitemap gets automatically updated when you publish a new page or post. There are multiple benefits of adding an XML sitemap to your WordPress website:
It tells search engines to crawl and index relevant pages on your website. The XML sitemap tells search engines about which pages are ok to to be craweled. Helps search engines to understand your website structure. It regularly informs search engines about new content on your website. When you add XML sitemap to your website it would ensure that your website has a strong interlinked website profile. Increased the chances of getting your website crawled and indexed much faster.
There are multiple ways to create an XML sitemap, however, the easiest way is to use the Yoast plugin as it would create an XML sitemap automatically for you.
Now, all you have to do is copy the link of the sitemap and paste it into your Google Search Console. Let’s look into GSC next.
10. Verify with Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free online service for website owners. It allows site owners to check if their website pages were crawled & indexed.
It also guides them to optimize the search visibility of their website. It was known as Google Webmasters until the mid of 2015 when they changed the name to Google Search Console.
Here are the key benefits of using GSC for your website:
Allows you to enhance your websites performance on Google search. Using the search analytics you can optimize your content. Submit your sitemaps to GSC which enables you to get indexed faster. Informs you about errors and issues on your website. It shows you how search engine bots look at your website. You can test your website on mobile and compare mobile search results. List Content List Content
One of the best features about GSC is it that it shows you the mobile and desktop search data and allows you to make necessary changes to get better results.
GSC plays a significant role in WordPress SEO as data is the key to plan a successful roadmap.
11. Generate High-Quality Links
Link building is still effective and useful to boost your rankings in the search engine result pages.
You need to ensure that only high-quality sites link to your website as only then would it effectively grow your rankings.
I recently managed to talk to the industries best link builders and found their link building strategy. I recommend checking it out and you will be able to find the best methods being used by the industry leaders.
Here some of the commonly used link building strategies:
Guest Posting Post highly quality content to let readers naturally link to it. Contact competitors for link exchange oppoutunities. Publish on social media groups and ask for users to PM you to link to your website. Find broken links on active websites and offer replacement content. Find dead sites and check who all have linked to it and offer them a relevant page in return. Answer questions of Quora and submit your links. Use HARO website to answer journalist questions and get a link. Ahrefs link intersect tools come shandy to check for common links between various sites which can be used by you to connect to these sites and get a link for yourself. Use infographics and videos to attract readers to link to your content. Link to relevant sites and inform them that you linked to them thus was hoping that they could do the same.
An effective link building strategy enables you to get noticed faster and build your website authority.
The best way to choose a site for link building is to check how much organic traffic they get and if the numbers are right then it is wise to proceed with getting a link on it.
12. Register on Google Analytics
This is a web analytics tool that only you to see and analyze your website traffic, sources and their behavior.
Google analytics is the best analytical tool that is used to compile website data and study it over time. This is the best practice to ensure you can check the ow and high performing pages on your website.
In short, Google Analytics shows you where the visitor came from and what they did on your website along with some detailed reports such as the time they spent on your site, the pages they visited and the action they took on your WP site.
Here is how you can get started with Google analytics:
Visit analytics.google.com Sign in or Sign up for analytics Add property which means your website to the analytics. Set the reporting view to see all or specific data from a fixed location or globally. Verify yourself as the website owner by adding the tracking code to your website.
Now, that you have added your website to analytics its time to configure your account. This will enable you to connect with your data more precisely.
Here are the best features of the Google analytics tool:
Add multiple users to the analytics account and grant them desired permissions. Connect Google Adwords account to Analytics and study the visitors behavior. Set conversion goals to know the growth of your website's performance and make changes accordingly. Show relevant data to each user and create reports. Download the analytics app and track your website performance on the go. Track your sales funnels and checkout pages by collecting data through analytics. Check how many times user clicked on your event such as sign up buttons, videos and other areas of your website. Check your app data and user interactions using Google analytics.
Google analytics is a perfect tool to check your websites overall performance which enables you to make necessary changes to your WordPress site.
There are many other important Google tools that can be used to enhance your website rankings such as Google Tag Manager, Google Optimize, Google Data Studio.
13. Optimize Your Site
In order to grow your WordPress sites accessibility and performance for search engines, you need to optimize it.
We have already covered a few points over now its time to discuss this in detail as knowing these optimization elements will enable you to rank your WP site higher in SERPs.
Some of the common optimization tips include making the website load faster, using the right keywords in the content body and adding SEO elements to your website.
Here are the WordPress optimization tips that you can implement on your site:
Make your website loads under 4 seconds. Use Meta Tags i.e. the H1-H6 tags in your website content. Include Meta Description on your website pages and add your keywords into it. Keep your content fresh and relevant by updating it on a regular basis. Set permalinks to show clear website url instead of dates and numbers. Place Call-To-Action on your website to generate leads and grow newsletter subscriptions. Create 404 page on your website if not present already. Make website compatible to all devices. Compress your images and scripts. Update your PHP version by contacting your hosting provider. Avoid using heavy plugins. Add alt text to images. Use relevant schema markup on all pages. Keep website navigation simple and easy to find.
Once you have optimized your website you will definitely see a drastic growth in your website rankings and it’s performance.
These are some of the best methods in the industry and by implementing these your visitors will thank you. It would surely enhance your brand value.
14. Compress Images
Using images on your website is highly recommended as it would make your content more interesting and would keep the users engaged to the website.
Regardless of the type of image you use or the format of the image you need to ensure that you add image alt text to each and every image on your WordPress site, however, more important is to compress the size of these images to lower the load time.
If you are wondering where to get images for your WordPress site then you have a couple of option’s one of the easiest ways is to get them on free stock photos sites like Pixabay.
You can also hire a graphic designer to create custom images for your website or even sign up for premium stock photos.
Regardless of the type of image you need to compress them and then upload it to your website as heavy images can chock your website and you definitely need to avoid these.
Here are the guidelines to compress your images for your WP site and enhance its performance:
Go to imageresize.org Select image compressor from the menu Click on choose images to compress Select your images from your computer Press the compress image button You will now see the old size and new image size Under the Action ta click on the downlaod arrow and save it to your computer.
Once you have downloaded the compressed image make sure to rename your image with the relevant keyword that you are targeting and then upload it to your WP site.
15. Interlink Website Pages
We covered the importance of creating a good site structure and in order pump up the user experience of your website you need to interlink website pages.
The process of interlinking involves adding links of important pages of your site on other pages of your website by doing so you are telling search engine bots that these pages are important.
In order to make the most out of interlinking, you need to use the exact anchor text of the page you want to interlink to. Let’s say if I want Page A to interlink to Page B then I would add the anchor text code i.e. <a href=”http://www.pageB.com/” title=”Keyword Text”>Keyword Text</a>
In this code, the “Keyword Text” signifies the target keyword of page B. If you interlink using this method you will be able to pass significant link juice to Page B and will inform search engines that Page B is highly relevant.
If you are wondering about the key uses and benefits of interlinking then I have compiled it for you here:
Makes internal pages more visible. Creates a good user navigation for visitors. Interlinking passes link juice to important pages which helps in better ranking. Enhances your site structure which makes search engines understand the relevant pages of your website. Makes internal pages more visible to users and search engines. It protects user intent.
Prior to starting a link building campaign, it is highly recommended to start with site interlinking for the best user experience and SEO value.
When you create a site structure and then start the link building process it will add more value to your entire website instead of just a few pages.
16. Enable Social Media
Everyone is on social media and so are your potential customers thus it is a good practice to create business pages on social media sites and also add a social sharing plugin to each of your blog posts.
Google does look at the social media signals and use it as a ranking factor.
It is thus recommended to enable social media sharing buttons and have your social media business pages on your website.
You can install plugins and codes into your WP site to showcase social media sharing buttons and also link to your social media pages. A good WP theme has a prebuilt social media icons and all you to do is enable them.
Facebook, Instagram & Google+ these are some of the popular social media sites and you need to ensure that you register the business pages and profiles with them instead of the regular profile pages.
Once the business accounts are set make sure you post images, videos, and text on them on a regular basis to keep the engagement alive.
Let’s look at the benefits of adding social media to your WordPress site:
Generate traffic for your website. High social signals gives strength to SEO. Reach influencers and potential clients in the industry. Helps in creating a brand image. It can be used as a customer service tool. Promote events and offers through groups and communities. Grow your niche authority and marks as an expert. Running ads on social media can help you reach new targeted audience.
One of the best advice I got from a leading social media expert was not to create bulk accounts and not be able to manage them. As it is highly important to post content on every social media channel that you create on a regular basis.
People recommend services and products to others based on ads they saw on social media thus it is vital to use it in the best possible way.
17. Encourage Social Sharing
When you post high-quality content on your website it is a good practice to share it on the social media business pages and also in niche relevant groups and communities.
We will cover the ways to grow your social sharing more effectively and encourage visitors to share it with their audiences.
When more people share your content on social sites it leads to more traffic and user interaction with your business. The key benefits are better outreach, growth in brand value, a boost in SEO rankings, and uplift to the marketing efforts.
There are multiple tactics you can use to encourage social sharing and we will be looking at some of the best ones:
Add social sharing buttons to every post which makes it easier for visitors to share the content. Ask your professional connections to share your content on their accounts. Create awesome content that appeals to the audience which automatically encourages them to share the content. Provide free and valuable resources to your visitors in exchange of a social share. Contact influencers and mention then in your content which would lead them to share it further. Interview industry leaders and publish it to your website. Use tools like Dlvrit to automate social sharing from regular visitors. Create live videos on Faceboo and YouTube as this build instant value for your social accounts. Run a poll on your website asking people to share it in return to get exclusive reports and gifts.
Growing your social sharing is going to be hard work in the beginning however once you establish your presence and grow your organic follower’s things would get pretty easy and glorious.
Hige amount of traffic, conversions and brand equity can be expected by a well managed social media branding account.
18. Structure the URLs
The URL is the web address of the website and that of the pages on the website.
It is a best practice to keep your URLs short and precise to the content on the page in order to rank better in search engine results.
When you launch your WordPress site it is best to go to the permalinks section of the WP site and select “Post Name” as the preferred URL structure. You can also customize is using the custom structure over here you can add /%category%/ and then /%postname%/.
This would create the URL structure with the category name first and then post name.
In order to reach the Permalink section on WordPress first login into the admin panel of your site and then from the left-hand side panel hover over the “Settings” tab and click on Permalinks.
We got some top tips to be used when structuring your URLs in order to grow rankings and attract more visitors:
Make the URL easy to read by using plain text in them. Add targeted keywords in the URL of the website. Avoid using dates and ID signs in the URL. Keep the URL short and simple as long URLs can avoided by the search engines from being craweled. Match the title & URL as closely as possible in order to make it relevant. Avoid URL redirects as it lowers the SEO value. Use hyphens to seperate two words in the URL structure. Do not add multiple keywords in the URL as it makes it look spammy. Try not to use stop words like (and, if, or, the, a). Enable breadcrumbs using Yoast SEO plugin which specifies the pages location leading to better navigation.
A good URL structure helps you get better visibility online and allows users to find and share the content more easily.
One of the best things about WordPress is the level of SEO customization it allows you to do.
19. Add Google reCAPTCHA
Your website needs to fight spamming bots who want to flood your comments and forms with ads and bogus links.
You can easily avoid this by adding a reCAPTCHA to your website forms and comments section as this enable the site to verify if the visitor is bot or human.
Spamming bots cannot solve a captcha due to the lack of human intelligence in them and for a real human, it takes just a second to bypass a captcha and move ahead with the process of commenting or filling a form.
Google’s ReCaptcha is a free to use tool and here is how you can add it to your WP site:
Visit https://www.google.com/recaptcha/admin and sign in using the gmail account. Select reCaptcha V3 or V2 checkbox. Under domains enter your website address. Check mark the box to accept reCaptcha terms and condition following which you need to click on register. On the next page you will see the "Site Key" and "Secret Key" copy them. Depending on the contact form plugin or feature you are using you would need to access it. Here visit the settings tab and paste both the keys in there respective places. Save the settings and visit the form again to see a reCaptcha form added to it.
I learned this the hard way as once I had over two thousand comments on my posts and all of them were made by spambots. I had to manually delete them and clean out my comments section.
Comments are awesome and a great way to interact with your audience, therefore, it is your duty to ensure it is spam free and safe to use.
20. Create Mobile Friendly Site
There are billions of mobile devices sold every year and making your website compatible for these devices would be a smart move.
A mobile-friendly website is now a Google ranking factor making it more important than ever to have one for yourself. The basics for a mobile site are still the same such as having the mobile site load faster, the images need to be responsive and the text needs to readable on all devices.
There are a number of SEO tools that can be used to test out your website and it’s performance of mobile devices.
The easiest way to make sure you have a mobile-friendly website from the start is to choose a responsive WordPress theme.
If you were not able to select a mobile-optimized WP theme then I recommend using these tips to create a mobile site:
Install WPTouch plugin from the plugins dashboard. Choose the relevant mobile theme for your website. Edit your site content only for movile viewers enabling better conversions. The plugin does not affect your desktop or tablet visitors thus any change will only apply to the mobile version. E-commerce sites may choose to upgrade to a pro version of the plugin which has additional features. Run a mobile friendly test using Google's free tool. Check all your plugins and ensure they all are working the usual way. Pro users can contact support to get direct help from the professionals.
Once you have the mobile version of your site up and running you would be able to notice traffic improvements along with a ranking boost.
It is the best practice to keep your mobile site updated at all times.
Apply these WordPress SEO tips to build strong branding value that will help you dominate in the search engine results pages.
Getting top rankings for competitive keywords can be tough, but do not give up as with time and dedication you can grow your online presence and establish yourself in the industry.
If you stick to ethical and organic tactics discussed here it will make rank higher in search engine results even against your biggest competitors. Some of the methods and strategies used here may be difficult to implement thus I recommend consulting with one of our SEO professionals.
Having a professional handle your SEO ensures fewer mistakes are made which leads to better and faster results.